A mobile unit carrying out COVID-19 testing is due to open in Greenock next week, but local MSP Stuart McMillan has stressed that this unit should serve every town in the area to ensure all eligible Inverclyde residents can access testing.
Inverclyde Council made the announcement last Thursday (15 May) and say the unit will initially be located at the Waterfront Leisure Centre in Greenock.
However, there will be vulnerable people in Port Glasgow, Gourock, Inverkip and Wemyss Bay who will be eligible for testing.
Commenting, Stuart said:
“I’m pleased that this mobile unit will test symptomatic key workers, Inverclyde residents over the age of 65, and people who cannot work from home, plus all members of their respective households, for Coronavirus.
“Currently, all NHS and health and social care workers can get tested for the virus at Port Glasgow, while all other key workers must travel to Glasgow Airport to be tested. This might be feasible for people with cars, but not for people who rely on public transport. This mobile testing unit removes that barrier so should result in more uptake in testing locally.
“Given the unit can move to other locations across the local authority area, I think we can get the most benefit from this initiative if it was also stationed in Port Glasgow, Gourock, Inverkip and Wemyss Bay for a period of time. This would ensure that a testing facility has been available in all five major towns in the area.
“I appreciate that the logistics of this proposal need to be considered, such as appropriate sites for the mobile unit in each town and how long it can be stationed there, but it would help ensure key workers and vulnerable people throughout Inverclyde can access testing close to their home.
“I would welcome dialogue with Inverclyde Council on this proposal so we can work together to increase uptake in testing for COVID-19 in Inverclyde, which will help keep essential services running and help manage the spread of the virus locally.
“With that being said, the data suggests that the number of deaths locally, and across Scotland, is decreasing. However, one death is one too many. We must all continue to follow the stay at home messaging to protect the NHS and save lives.”